Last Sunday I finished two sets of two preaches. In the morning I was at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, where two weeks before we had looked at the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 under the heading of listening to God. This time we went into chapter 11 and talked about the Lord’s prayer, under the heading of talking to God.
In Luke Jesus gives us a shorter version of the more commonly used Matthew version. He teaches us first who we pray to – Our Father, whom we acknowledge as holy; then what we are to pray about. We start by praying about God’s kingdom – that’s a prayer that has both eschatalogical and mission implications – and pray about ourselves, opening our lives in dependence to God. We are to talk to him about our material needs (daily bread), relational needs (forgiveness) and our spiritual needs (to be kept from temptation).
Free-church types have probably tended to shy away from this prayer out of some kind of liturgiphoboia, but it brings us a healthy challenge and encouragement towards a healthy, balanced prayer life.
In the evening it was back to Bethany Church at Finaghy Crossroads to pick up on Ephesians 1. After his 202 word eulogy, where he praises God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – for the plan, accomplishment and guarantee of salvation, Paul prays for his readers.
He prays that their spiritual eyes will be opened. He wants them to know God better, specifically in relation to hope (the hope to which God has called them), riches (that God has a rich inheritance in his people) and power (the power of God for those who believe). That’s the same power that raised and exalted Jesus.